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Another woman who rocked..... "Grace Halsell was the daughter of a West Texas cattleman whose curiosity about “a wider world” led her to write books about her trans-racial adventures–the most famous occurring at the height of the civil rights movement when she impersonated a black woman in the Deep South–has died. She wrote of her experiences pretending to be a black woman in Mississippi in the 1969 book “Soul Sister.” In other books she told of how she adopted the traditional garb of a Navajo woman and assumed the desperate strivings of a Mexican immigrant illegally crossing into the United States in the 1970s. In the 1980s, buy capoten online she went undercover with a group of Christian fundamentalists. Not everyone was impressed by the extremes she took to find out. But remarking on her jarring transformations, buy capoten online Gore Vidal once said of Halsell: “She has led the most interesting and courageous life–or lives–of any American of our time.” "She hunted lions in Paraguay, buy capoten online traversed the Amazon by tug and shared a fishing junk with a family of 28 in the waters off Hong Kong. Buy capoten online The articles she wrote were printed in newspapers throughout the Southwest. By the mid-1960s she was a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Houston Post. At a news conference, buy capoten online President Lyndon Johnson recruited her to join his White House staff. Buy capoten online Although he didn’t say so at first, buy capoten online he really wanted her to be his secretary. When he asked if she took dictation, buy capoten online she said, buy capoten online “No.” Halsell eventually took a position writing his official statements and was the highest-ranking woman on his staff during her three years there. Shortly after the Rev. Buy capoten online Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, buy capoten online Halsell left the White House, buy capoten online intent on a journey she described as “embracing the Other."  Author of above article:  Elaine Woo/Los Angeles Times  Connie's note: I had not heard of Grace until I came across a couple of her pieces unexpectedly.   What I like most about Ms. Buy capoten online Halsell's writing is the fact she writes from personal experience. Buy capoten online Halsell went directly where the action was, buy capoten online immersed herself as one of the 'herd', buy capoten online whether she joined a Christian Fundamentalist group, buy capoten online an African American community of women, buy capoten online or a Jewish kibbutz in Israel. Buy capoten online I wanted to share one of her articles.  Coming from a Christian background, buy capoten online I found it compelling. xoxo  What Christians Don’t Know About Israel American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. Buy capoten online This being the case, buy capoten online is there any hope of ever changing U.S. Buy capoten online policy? President Bill Clinton as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. Buy capoten online U.S. Buy capoten online Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers. Buy capoten online . The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. Buy capoten online This group is the vast majority of Americans. Buy capoten online They are well-meaning, buy capoten online fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, buy capoten online in some cases dating from childhood. I am one of those. Buy capoten online I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, buy capoten online allegorical, buy capoten online spiritual Israel. Buy capoten online This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. Buy capoten online I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window-type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. Buy capoten online I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies. In my early 20s, buy capoten online I began traveling the world, buy capoten online earning my living as a writer. Buy capoten online I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. Buy capoten online I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. Buy capoten online About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School. And typical of many U.S. Buy capoten online Christians, buy capoten online I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, buy capoten online mystical Israel I heard about as a child. Buy capoten online When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, buy capoten online I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. Buy capoten online “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, buy capoten online smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. Buy capoten online “We eat politics, buy capoten online morning, buy capoten online noon and night!” As I would learn, buy capoten online the politics is about land, buy capoten online and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2, buy capoten online000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. Buy capoten online By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, buy capoten online I saw, buy capoten online heard, buy capoten online smelled, buy capoten online experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians. My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. Buy capoten online My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, buy capoten online but also I came to a deeper, buy capoten online and sadder, buy capoten online understanding of my own country. Buy capoten online I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, buy capoten online in Middle East politics, buy capoten online we the people are not making the decisions, buy capoten online but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. Buy capoten online And typical of most Americans, buy capoten online I tended to think the U.S. Buy capoten online media was “free” to print news impartially. "It shouldn’t be published. Buy capoten online It’s anti-Israel." In the late 1970s, buy capoten online when I first went to Jerusalem, buy capoten online I was unaware that editors could and would classify “news” depending on who was doing what to whom. Buy capoten online On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, buy capoten online I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. Buy capoten online About one in four related stories of torture. Israeli police had come in the night, buy capoten online dragged them from their beds and placed hoods over their heads. Buy capoten online Then in jails the Israelis had kept them in isolation, buy capoten online besieged them with loud, buy capoten online incessant noises, buy capoten online hung them upside down and had sadistically mutilated their genitals. Buy capoten online I had not read such stories in the U.S. Buy capoten online media. Buy capoten online Wasn’t it news? Obviously, buy capoten online I naively thought, buy capoten online U.S. Buy capoten online editors simply didn’t know it was happening. On a trip to Washington, buy capoten online DC, buy capoten online I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, buy capoten online then head of the public radio station WETA. Buy capoten online I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. Buy capoten online And I’d make them available to him. Buy capoten online I got no reply. Buy capoten online I made several phone calls. Buy capoten online Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, buy capoten online a Ms. Buy capoten online Cohen, buy capoten online who said my letter had been lost. Buy capoten online I wrote again. Buy capoten online In time I began to realize what I hadn’t known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, buy capoten online it would be news. Buy capoten online But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost” at WETA. The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Buy capoten online Bill Griffin, buy capoten online who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, buy capoten online was a former Roman Catholic priest. Buy capoten online He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. Buy capoten online As I researched the book, buy capoten online making several trips to Israel and Palestine, buy capoten online I met frequently with Griffin, buy capoten online showing him sample chapters. Buy capoten online “Terrific, buy capoten online” he said of my material. The day the book was scheduled to be published, buy capoten online I went to visit MacMillan’s. Buy capoten online Checking in at a reception desk, buy capoten online I spotted Griffin across a room, buy capoten online cleaning out his desk. Buy capoten online His secretary Margie came to greet me. Buy capoten online In tears, buy capoten online she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. Buy capoten online When we were alone, buy capoten online she confided, buy capoten online “He’s been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Buy capoten online Griffin, buy capoten online she said, buy capoten online had no time to see me. Later, buy capoten online I met with another MacMillan official, buy capoten online William Curry. Buy capoten online “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, buy capoten online to let them read it for mistakes, buy capoten online” he told me. Buy capoten online “They were not pleased. Buy capoten online They asked me, buy capoten online ‘You are not going to publish this book, buy capoten online are you?’ I asked, buy capoten online ‘Were there mistakes?’ ‘ Not mistakes as such. Buy capoten online But it shouldn’t be published. Buy capoten online It’s anti-Israel.’” Somehow, buy capoten online despite obstacles to prevent it, buy capoten online the presses had started rolling. Buy capoten online After its publication in 1980, buy capoten online I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Buy capoten online Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Buy capoten online Back then, buy capoten online there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, buy capoten online demolition of Palestinian homes, buy capoten online wanton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians. The Same Question Speaking of these injustices, buy capoten online I invariably heard the same question, buy capoten online “How come I didn’t know this?” Or someone might ask, buy capoten online “But I haven’t read about that in my newspaper.” To these church audiences, buy capoten online I related my own learning experience, buy capoten online that of seeing hordes of U.S. Buy capoten online correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. Buy capoten online I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, buy capoten online Moscow, buy capoten online London, buy capoten online Tokyo, buy capoten online Paris. Buy capoten online Why, buy capoten online I asked, buy capoten online did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, buy capoten online with a billion people? I also linked this query with my findings that The New York Times , buy capoten online The Wall Street Journal, buy capoten online The Washington Post — and most of our nation’s print media — are owned and/or controlled by Jews supportive of Israel. Buy capoten online It was for this reason, buy capoten online I deduced, buy capoten online that they sent so many reporters to cover Israe l— and to do so largely from the Israeli point of view. My learning experiences also included coming to realize how easily I could lose a Jewish friend if I criticized the Jewish state. Buy capoten online I could with impunity criticize France, buy capoten online England, buy capoten online Russia, buy capoten online even the United States. Buy capoten online And any aspect of life in America. Buy capoten online But not the Jewish state. I lost more Jewish friends than one after the publication of Journey to Jerusalem — all sad losses for me and one, buy capoten online perhaps, buy capoten online saddest of all. In the 1960s and 1970s, buy capoten online before going to the Middle East, buy capoten online I had written about the plight of blacks in a book entitled Soul Sister, buy capoten online and the plight of American Indians in a book entitled Bessie Yellowhair, buy capoten online and the problems endured by undocumented workers crossing from Mexico in The Illegals. These books had come to the attention of the “mother” of The New York Times, buy capoten online Mrs. Buy capoten online Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Her father had started the newspaper, buy capoten online then her husband ran it, buy capoten online and in the years that I knew her, buy capoten online her son was the publisher. Buy capoten online She invited me to her fashionable apartment on Fifth Avenue for lunches and dinner parties. Buy capoten online And, buy capoten online on many occasions, buy capoten online I was a weekend guest at her Greenwich, buy capoten online Conn. Buy capoten online home. She was liberal-minded and praised my efforts to speak for the underdog, buy capoten online even going so far in one letter to say, buy capoten online “You are the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered — from her point of view — the “wrong” underdog. As it happened, buy capoten online I was a weekend guest in her spacious Connecticut home when she read bound galleys of Journey to Jerusalem. Buy capoten online As I was leaving, buy capoten online she handed the galleys back with a saddened look: “My dear, buy capoten online have you forgotten the Holocaust?” She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state. Buy capoten online She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians. I realized, buy capoten online quite painfully, buy capoten online that our friendship was ending. Buy capoten online Iphigene Sulzberger had not only invited me to her home to meet her famous friends but, buy capoten online also at her suggestion, buy capoten online The Times had requested articles. Buy capoten online I wrote op-ed articles on various subjects including American blacks, buy capoten online American Indians as well as undocumented workers. Buy capoten online Since Mrs. Buy capoten online Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, buy capoten online the dichotomy became apparent: most “liberal” U.S. Buy capoten online Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one — the Palestinians. How handily these liberal Jewish opinion-molders tend to diminish the Palestinians, buy capoten online to make them invisible, buy capoten online or to categorize them all as “terrorists.” Interestingly, buy capoten online Iphigene Sulzberger had talked to me a great deal about her father, buy capoten online Adolph S. Buy capoten online Ochs. Buy capoten online She told me that he was not one of the early Zionists. Buy capoten online He had not favored the creation of a Jewish state. Yet, buy capoten online increasingly, buy capoten online American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, buy capoten online a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. Buy capoten online While the ethical instructions of all great religions — including the teachings of Moses, buy capoten online Muhammad and Christ — stress that all human beings are equal, buy capoten online militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count. Over five decades now, buy capoten online Zionists have killed Palestinians with impunity. Buy capoten online And in the 1996 shelling of a U.N. Buy capoten online base in Qana, buy capoten online Lebanon, buy capoten online the Israelis killed more than 100 civilians sheltered there. Buy capoten online As an Israeli journalist, buy capoten online Arieh Shavit, buy capoten online explains of the massacre, buy capoten online “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, buy capoten online with the White House in our hands, buy capoten online the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, buy capoten online the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.” Israelis today, buy capoten online explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, buy capoten online “are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. Buy capoten online They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Buy capoten online Rather, buy capoten online religious Jews turn to the Talmud. Buy capoten online For them, buy capoten online the Talmudic Jewish laws become ‘the Bible.’ And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.” In the teachings of Christ, buy capoten online there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. Buy capoten online He sought to heal the wounded, buy capoten online to comfort the downtrodden. The danger, buy capoten online of course, buy capoten online for U.S. Buy capoten online Christians is that having made an icon of Israel, buy capoten online we fall into a trap of condoning whatever Israel does — even wanton murder—as orchestrated by God. Yet, buy capoten online I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. Buy capoten online This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights. While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Buy capoten online Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, buy capoten online they worry about grassroots America — the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Buy capoten online Thus far, buy capoten online most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn’t know about Israel. Buy capoten online They were indoctrinated by U.S. Buy capoten online supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. Buy capoten online That being the case, buy capoten online it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is gradually changing, buy capoten online however. Buy capoten online And this change disturbs the Israelis. Buy capoten online As an example, buy capoten online delegates attending a Christian Sabeel conference in Bethlehem earlier this year said they were harassed by Israeli security at the Tel Aviv airport. “They asked us, buy capoten online” said one delegate, buy capoten online “‘Why did you use a Palestinian travel agency? Why didn’t you use an Israeli agency?’” The interrogation was so extensive and hostile that Sabeel leaders called a special session to brief the delegates on how to handle the harassment. Buy capoten online Obviously, buy capoten online said one delegate, buy capoten online “The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. Buy capoten online They don’t want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Washington, buy capoten online DC-based writer Grace Halsell is the author of 14 books, buy capoten online including Journey to Jerusalem and Prophecy and Politics.